Avenger, the cheapest cruiser bike available in India, has got a heart transplant. Yes, we are discussing about the new Bajaj Avenger 220, which has the got the ‘Fastest Indian bike’ Pulsar 220′s engine tweaked for a cruiser set up. Bajaj Avenger was first launched as Kawasaki Bajaj Eliminator in 2001 with a price tag of 90 K. But, people were quite shocked those days, because the Indian market has not seen Harley Davidsons which costs in Lakhs.
In 2005, Bajaj launched Eliminator with the 180 cc engine from Pulsar 180. This allowed Bajaj to price it at about Rs. 60 K and thus made this cruiser available for a wider set of people. Then in 2007, the oil-cooled engine of the Pulsar 200 was plonked into Avenger and now, we have the Pulsar 220 engine sitting in Avenger’s belly. Except for a few minor mechanical modifications, Eliminator or Avenger, remains the same. We grabbed the new Avenger 220 and here is our exclusive test ride reports for vicky.in readers.
Avenger 220 – New Features
Is Avenger 220, more stylish than Avenger 200? Sadly, no. Both the siblings will look same for untrained eyes. But, only if you observe keenly, you can see the newbies.
1. A new ’220 Oil Cooled’ Logo
2. Low battery indicator included in the instrument panel on the right side of fuel gauge over the bike’s tank.
3. Bajaj has included a DC Ignition in Avenger 220. This will make the headlamp of the bike to throw out uniform light even irrespective of whether Avenger is in stand still or cruising at top speeds.
4. No KICK START LEVER. Sadly, like in Pulsar 220, the new Avenger 220 misses kick start lever and hence starting the Avenger means, you need to wholly rely on the bike’s battery to start the engine.
5. Additional oil cooler fins which will help the engine of Avenger 220 to cool quicker, especially during long journeys where you maintain high speeds continuously for hours together.
6. The Ignition lock has a ‘P’ (Parking) which can be used to switch on the headlamp even when the bike’s engine doesn’t run.
7. Presence of a manual choke, instead of an auto-choke.
The rest of the new Avenger 220 is exactly same as Avenger 200. The classic cruiser styling, which was imbibed from the Kawasaki bike chassis, excites every rider with the low saddle height, broad rider seat, forward foot riding posture with an upright handlebar, easing the biker’s nerves for an uninterrupted long drive. Avenger’s long wheelbase and wider rear tyre, both ensure maximum comfort. The lavish use of chrome treatment in handle bar weights, tank’s lid and instrument panel and rear grab rail makes Avenger look rich and classic.
Engine and Performance
Let us discuss about the real upgrade for Avenger, from the 200 cc engine to the 220 cc engine. This 220 cc engine, which is actually a derivative of Pulsar 220cc engine, churns out 19 PS of peak power and 17.5 Nm of torque. Obviously, Bajaj has returned the sportsbike engine for a cruiser bike setup, which claims for more twist force to roll-on from stand still. The larger power mill, welcomes the 3 digit speeds such as 110 kmph or 120 kmph, and doesn’t feel stressed. Efforts to use the clutch lever and gear shifts are a tad bit refined in Avenger 220, but not butter smooth anyway.
The engine’s mid range pull is the strongest bit, but we actually expected the low range to be stronger. The other advantage of the new bigger capacity engine, is its free-revving nature, that allows you to zip off the traffic very easily, provided you give justice to the throttle with a good amount of twisting force as you cannot expect a whacky pick up of a Pulsar 220. In the mileage front, the new Avenger 220 runs lesser miles than the Avenger 200 for every litre of petrol, but the mileage difference is very less that you cannot take it as a big factor in purchasing this cruiser, for sure.
Ride and Handling
Cruisers are meant for relaxed riding and Avenger comforts the rider as much as it can. The saddle of Avenger with a very low centre of gravity , provides maximum comfort that you can never get on a normal sports bike frame or the commuter frame bikes. This gives loads of confidence to the rider in taking fast corners and balancing at very slow moving traffic. Avenger can be used for day to day commuting too, provided, you don’t expect to cut through traffic in this cruiser.
The turning radius may also be bothersome while you park the bike in tight parking areas. Take the Avenger to a highway, both the rider and the cruiser, will immediately feel at home. Straight line stability is extremely good and once you opt for the windshield, you would feel like driving a car. The perfect ergonomically designed cruiser frame, uniform power delivering engine and low saddle, comforts you and encourages you to drive for hours together. Overtaking cars and trucks, is easy and fast cornering can be done with lots of confidence, the longer wheelbase and the fat rear tyre comes into play here.
Avenger is equipped with a 260 mm disc at the front and 130 mm drum at the rear. The front disc halts the speed as you would expect, but the rear brake feels dumb. Nevertheless, when applying both the brakes together, Avenger comes from a high speed to a stand-still precisely with no wobbling nor any skidding.
As a rule, in slow moving traffic, applying the front brake is the best option. The cruiser frame will ask for a stretched leg to reach out for the right leg foot peg and before which, you may need to halt. Hence, using front brake is the best option.
Good Bits and Bad Bits
1. Seat cushioning has been improved
2. Nice use of chrome making the bike look rich
3. DC ignition
1. No Kick Start Lever
2. Engine grunt, louder than the previous Avenger
Does the new Avenger 220 has anything special in it to pull more crowd to its showroom. Sadly, no. As Pulsar 200 was phased out, making the 200 cc engine, solely for an Avenger isn’t that economical and hence, using the same engine for Pulsar 220 and Avenger 220 with minor tweaks is the obvious reason for the upgrade. The bike’s power, pick up and riding quality has not improved remarkably either, and there is no additional color options too, but still you will grab the attention of the crowd when you ride the Avenger.
Bajaj has always been good at pricing its products and the Avenger price tag simply boasts that it’s the cheapest cruiser with a reliable 220 cc engine, which is known for top end performance and adrenaline gushing power. You won’t go wrong in buying an Avenger for sure. Wait no further, call your friends, plan for a long trip, enjoy cruising in the new Bajaj Avenger 220 and feel like God!